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10 Tips for Sleep Health

Here are ten critical pieces of information every person should know about sleep and how to optimize and enhance sleep for healthy living.

Sleep is the secret weapon for maintaining overall health and wellness.

1. Be asleep > 2 hours before midnight.

Quality sleep is biologically driven by the brain and is often inflexible to environmental change. The best quality sleep is achieved between 2200 – 0600. Quality sleep helps to clear toxins and repair muscle.

2. Electronic devices reduce quality sleep.

A recent study found that late-night tweeting increases next-day fatigue and daytime sleepiness. Biologically speaking, blue light emitted from smartphones and TVs stops nighttime release of the hormone that helps us fall asleep: melatonin. Melatonin helps us achieve restorative sleep responsible for overall rejuvenation and repair.

3. Quality sleep releases anabolic hormones.

It is a myth that we release growth hormone and testosterone after we exercise. Rather, the body “saves” that information and releases these anabolic hormones during sleep but only if quality, restorative sleep is achieved.

4. No sugary foods before bedtime.

While it is common to wake up starving in the middle of the night, eating low glycemic foods that do not elevate blood sugar (e.g., sweet potatoes over a banana or ice cream) before bedtime will help reduce awakenings in the middle of the night.

5. Supplementation with magnesium and zinc.

These are two key minerals rapidly depleted during the day that are critical for a healthy nervous system. Most foods do not provide adequate amounts of magnesium/zinc.  Both will help reduce leg cramping and muscle twitching common at night as well as with achieving quality sleep.

6. Sleep in the fetal position.

Sleeping on your back or stomach makes the ability to breath difficult during sleep. Use pillows to condition the body to sleep in the fetal position.

7. Keep the room cool for quality sleep.

A room temperature between 68 -72 degrees Fahrenheit will help ensure that you do not wake up in the middle of the night and can achieve quality stages of sleep.

8. Mentally rehearse important information before bedtime.

Sleep is necessary to learn and recall new information.

9. “Sleep bank” prior to intended sleep deprivation.

It is common to have poor sleep the night before travel.  Extending sleep by > 1 -2 hours for 3 – 4 days leading up to travel will help protect against declines in physical and mental performances.

10. Use sleep medications as a last resort for insomnia or other sleep difficulties.

When all else fails, take half a recommended dose of a prescribed sleep medication or use melatonin (3 -5 mg; 1 -2 capsules) to help re-adjust a sleep schedule to a new time zone. The easiest way to prepare for time zone travel is to slowly adjust sleep by 30 – 60 min in the direction of travel a few days prior.

Learn more about sleep physiology!

Register now for Dr. Brager’s free webinar on this topic. This webinar will give a basic overview of the principles and practices of how and why we sleep, and how sleep timing & quality shape overall health status.

 


Dr. Allison Brager is an expert in sleep physiology and relevance to issues of mental health. She serves in several leadership and scientific advisory board positions with professional research societies, industry, and professional, Olympic, and collegiate teams.

She has over 30 publications in flagship journals of medicine, neuroscience, and physiology widely featured by large media outlets and is author of the popular science book Meathead: Unraveling the Athletic Brain. She has a Sc.B from Brown University and a PhD from Kent State University.

cauliflower-tots

The Naturopathic Chef: Smokey Cauliflower Tater Tots with Spicy Ketchup

Make a double batch and place on a parchment lined sheet pan. Freeze individually and you’ll be able to handle snack emergencies like a pro. Paired with spicy ketchup, your favorite buttermilk dressing, or BBQ sauce; these are for the kids, or the kid in all of us!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets and the stem into small chunks
  • 1 medium Yukon Gold Potato, peel and cut into 2” cubes
  • 1 small parsnip, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • ½ white onion, grated
  • 2 tsp butter of your choice or coconut oil
  • 1 egg white or 1 Tbsp vegan egg re-placer, whisk lightly
  • 1 tsp mild chili powder blend
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp adobo sauce (Divide the remaining adobo and chipotles into ice cube molds and freeze. Pop out and place in freezer bag.)
  • Optional: 2 tbsp jack or pepper jack cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Steam first three veggies just until fork-tender, 12- 18 minutes. Drain and cool. Place cauliflower, potato, parsnip, and grated onion into food processor. Pulse steamed veggies a few times to blend and create the base for your tots. Add remaining ingredients and pulse just enough to bring “dough” together. Scoop out one tablespoon of mix and form into a little barrel or “tot.” Place finished barrels onto your prepared sheet pan. At this point, you can freeze, bake or fry. I coat the barrels lightly with cooking spray and bake 15-20 minutes. Serve with dippers of your choice.

Spicy Ketchup

Finely mince chilies of your choice. I like the Hungarian Yellow Chilies. Stir into ½ cup of Ketchup, along with a squeeze of fresh lemon and either Sriracha or Tabasco. I make this the day before to allow the flavors to marry. This is delicious on burgers, too!

Phyte Bites

Vegetables that grow underground are some of nature’s most powerful disease-fighting foods. Potatoes and parsnips are a great source of essential minerals and Abscisic Acid: one of our best defenses against cancer.

Root veggies are one of the best ways to improve gut health, too. They increase the level of friendly bacteria that are crucial to our ability to digest food properly and to maximize nutrient absorption. This also plays into the prevention of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Gut health and its efficacy prevents the breakdown of all ten bodily systems. Keep your gut garden thriving, and you will too!

Cauliflower has been touted by many food scientists as “the healthiest food on the planet.” The phytonutrient profile is a “Who’s Who,” of cancer killers and hormone protection.


Get more great recipes from Tina Martini — her book, Delicious Medicine: The Healing Power of Food is available to purchase on Amazon. More than a cookbook, combining 20+ years of experience, along with her love of coaching, cooking and teaching, Tina offers unexpected insights into the history and healing power of clean eating, along with recipes to help reduce your risk of disease and improve overall wellness so you can enjoy life!

Affectionately referred to as The Walking Encyclopedia of Human Wellness, Fitness Coach, Strength Competitor and Powerlifting pioneer, Tina “The Medicine Chef” Martini is an internationally recognized Naturopathic Chef and star of the cooking show, Tina’s Ageless Kitchen. Tina’s cooking and lifestyle show has reached millions of food and fitness lovers all over the globe. Over the last 30 years, Tina has assisted celebrities, gold-medal athletes and over-scheduled executives naturally achieve radiant health using The Pyramid of Power: balancing Healthy Nutrition and the healing power of food, with Active Fitness and Body Alignment techniques. Working with those who have late-stage cancer, advanced diabetes, cardiovascular and other illnesses, Tina’s clients are astounded at the ease and speed with which they are able to restore their radiant health. Tina believes that maintaining balance in our diet, physical activity, and in our work and spiritual life is the key to our good health, happiness and overall well being. Visit her website, themedicinechef.com

 

 

Infection of alimentary canal

The Cops & Robbers of Cancer

One of our favourite games as kids is now one of the most powerful determinants of sickness or health – the cops and robbers in our intestinal tract – better known as “good bacteria” or “bad bacteria”. Over the last ten years, the function of our “gut microbiome”, is finally gaining the research and respect that it so deserves.

trainer-and-client-exercise-fitness-machine

Healing is a Skill

One aspect of training and conditioning the human body the right way, that I find particularly fascinating, is the anabolic effect that occurs, and the healing response that it creates. Anabolic, or anabolism, refers to the metabolic process of building up tissue structure in the body. You can easily remember that anabolism refers to building up when you think about anabolic steroids – the performance-enhancing drugs that bodybuilders, baseball players, and others have used to gain bulk. However, we are not talking about artificial anabolism through taking anabolic steroids here; we are talking about the body’s natural and healthy anabolism. Many times, this anabolic effect gets discussed among athletes and strength coaches in terms of getting bigger, faster, and stronger, or amongst fitness enthusiasts in terms of shedding fat, looking lean and ripped, and feeling great. However, when we think about anabolic response from an injury standpoint, one of the best parts of an elevated anabolic effect is the tissue growth and healing response it stimulates.

To further discuss anabolism in the body, we must understand that metabolic processes are controlled by our body’s hormones. Hormones regulate many of the major physiologic processes in our bodies. These processes include metabolism, appetite, strength, lean muscle mass, body fat percentage, body composition, tissue integrity, heart rate, blood pressure, energy and fatigue, mood, sex drive, emotions, and stress. Many factors affect hormone levels, including nutrition, sleep, physical activity, and physical, emotional, and mental stress. We cannot control all of these factors, but we are able to control some of them.

One major factor influencing hormone regulation that we as humans are (for the most part) in control of is physical activity, aka exercise. The type of exercise is important. The intensity and the duration of exercise are the two main factors to consider when thinking about how hormones will be influenced by exercise. This is why I say training the body the “right way” will produce an anabolic effect. We will get back to exactly what the “right way” is in terms of hormone regulation in the next section. For now, let’s finish discussing how these hormones are promoting a healing effect in the body.

Basically, exercise is really a form of trauma to the body. Correct exercise training is a controlled, mild form of trauma done in a very specific way to produce a very specific result. So one main, and very cool, thing that happens when you consistently train your body the right way is that you are actually teaching your body how to recover from damage. You are training your body to recover from trauma. You are literally teaching your body how to heal in a more efficient manner. The way I see it, healing is a skill. You can train yourself to be better at that skill!

During our one-hour webinar, we will take a look at some of the science and practical application of how this works to give you the knowledge and skills to train your ability to heal.


Dr. Donnie Richardson, DC, CCSP, DACBSP, CSCS, is a Sports Medicine Specialist and Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Dr. Donnie has worked for the Many United States National Teams since 2008, serving as both a team doctor and sports performance coach, traveling both nationally and traveling internationally all over the world with our countries top athletes. Dr. Donnie also owns and operates his own private practice in Los Angeles, Universal Sports Performance, offering services ranging from sports medicine, injury diagnosis, physical rehabilitation, physiotherapy, injury prevention, sports performance training, personal fitness training, nutrition and diet programming, among other health care services.

back-pain

Treat the Cause, Not the Symptom

I’ve heard a saying regarding pain in the body, “the victim screams while the criminal is silent.”

When Tom Myers, internationally known fascia expert and author of Anatomy Trains, said this he was referring to the interconnected relationships between the soft tissues in the body. The pain is not always, and actually not often, being generated where it hurts, but rather is in response to an imbalance somewhere else.

For example, consider pain on the top of your shoulders. You know the spot, where you have those annoying, chronic knots that hurt like crazy when you apply pressure. Why do you have that tightness? Is there something wrong with those muscles? A problem in your shoulders? Your neck? Maybe. . . Or perhaps, the tightness signals a compensation in those muscles for something else going on in the body. The upper back/neck muscles are the victims screaming, while the real perpetrators—a hip disparity, lower back dysfunction or weakness in the core is silent.

Modern medicine is symptom-oriented, focused on relieving the pain often without looking deeper to find out WHY the pain is occurring. Medical professionals have become very good at treating painful symptoms. Unfortunately, these dedicated healers often overlook or lack the time needed to investigate the cause of the pain. This leads to an unending cycle of symptoms and invasive procedures.

You’ve probably heard stories of people who have had multiple joints replaced or repeated back surgeries. Chronic pain and joint degeneration is caused by stress within the body. If the cause of this stress (e.g. muscles imbalances) is not addressed the stress will just be redirected to other joints and soft tissues.

Misaligned Posture Was the Cause of My Chronic Symptoms

When I had my third knee surgery, on the same knee, I told the doctor I felt like there was something bigger to these injuries. The majority of my surgeries were to repair “wear and tear” issues that developed slowly over time. I didn’t understand WHY I was having these problems while my competitors, who probably logged more bike miles than me continued to pedal pain free.

It wasn’t until starting posture therapy and seeing my position that I realized the knee wasn’t the problem. The cause was the position of my spine! Too much forward rounding in my upper back and shoulders which was balanced by an equally exaggerated curve in my lower back in the opposite direction.

This position increased the forward tilt of my pelvis and changed the orientation of my hips that internally rotated my knees. Not long after my last knee surgery, I had hip surgery, again on the same side. The knee and hip were the victims being damaged to the point of needing repair while my curved back and shoulders didn’t make a sound.

After my final knee surgery I had not taken action to find and correct the cause of my pain so the cycle continued damaging my hip. Only by reducing the dramatic curves of my back, which created a positive chain reaction on the alignment of my hips and knees did my frequent trips to the operating room end. Now I am hot on the trail of the criminals, which is silencing the victims.

Join Jessica for her upcoming webinar on this topic: Posture: The Undiagnosed Cause of Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain

Article originally printed on thepfathlete.com. Reprinted with permission.


Coach, author, and former professional athlete, Jessica Kisiel, MS, is passionate about helping people who are in chronic pain maintain an active lifestyle. She has overcome many injuries herself, including severe hip osteoarthritis. Using her professional knowledge and personal experience, Jessica has guided hundreds of clients out of pain and back to activity and competitive sports.

During her healing, she discovered Posture Therapy, which turned out to be the missing piece in her recovery from hip, back and neck pain. When she was a patient, she began the certification process for The Egoscue Method® and continued her posture training to receive credentialing from the Postural Restoration Institute® (PRI). Unique in holding both these designations, Jessica is sought out by people worldwide in search of answers to their pain. Jessica’s story, and much of what she gained through her recovery process, is explained in her book, “Winning The Injury Game”. 

Young beautiful brunette sportswoman wearing sportswoman training over white background confuse and wonder about question. Uncertain with doubt, thinking with hand on head. Pensive concept.

Eight Exercises to do to Have the Body You Want

I’m going to be honest – there’s a lot of hype in the exercise market today. It almost feels like whoever can do the most creative exercises wins some kind of award. But the truth is…that’s not a good use of your time because it’s not going to get you the results you probably desire – a lean, defined, healthy body that enables you to perform daily life functions and that will allow you to age gracefully.

DHEA=article-feature

“You want a what?”: A Story for Our Times

Imagine you’re house hunting and at last you’ve found what might be the perfect home. Like all home buyers, you are eager to see the kitchen. Mostly, you’re looking for quality appliances. When you arrive, everything looks great, with one glaring exception. There’s no refrigerator. There’s a gaping hole where the refrigerator should be. And when you ask the realtor, you’re astounded to hear him say, “Hmmm. You want a what?”

“A refrigerator,” you reply.

“What’s that?” he asks. You laugh nervously, because his question sounded sincere, and then you explain what a refrigerator is.  “

Yeah, no,” he replies, “You don’t want one of those. They’re dangerous.”

“How are refrigerators dangerous?” you ask.

The realtor pauses for a few seconds, then replies, “They… um… they explode!”

This is what happens when a well-informed patient asks their doctor about DHEA. More than 2 million people have read one of Stephen Cherniske’s books and articles that describe why DHEA is an essential part of any healthcare plan. Millions more have seen him interviewed on national TV, or read about him in Time, Newsweek and Oprah. They understood Cherniske’s simple graphic showing that health is a see-saw of damage and repair, and how DHEA is the most important factor driving repair in every tissue of the human body. They were impressed with the author’s scientific credentials and the mountain of evidence published in biomedical journals.

But when they ask their doctor about this critically important factor that literally determines how fast they age, they are shocked to hear that many physicians have no real understanding of the hormone. Even worse, many doctors disregard the question, essentially saying “Yeah, no. You don’t want one of those. They’re dangerous.” And when asked exactly why DHEA is dangerous, they reply with something they heard 25 years ago that has been soundly debunked.

Join Stephen Cherniske for his upcoming webinar, The Case for DHEA, to learn more about this topic. He’ll review the metabolic model of aging and show how DHEA plays a key role in tissue repair, neuroprotection, metabolism, cardiovascular health, mood and memory.

 


Stephen Cherniske, MSc is a biochemist with more than 50 years of academic, clinical and research experience. He taught university clinical nutrition, directed the nation’s first FDA-licensed clinical lab specializing in nutrition and immunology, and served on the faculty of the American College of Sports Medicine. His book “The DHEA Breakthrough” was an international best-seller that helped launch the anti-aging movement worldwide. Cherniske is considered to be the chief architect of the metabolic model of aging – now the predominant model used in research protocols throughout the world.